As some of you may remember, I announced my coaching hiatus about 6 months ago (April 2019).  What I haven’t shared is that the hiatus didn’t last long! It’s funny how you can announce an idea and the Universe responds with “not so fast….”.

By the following month (May), my work with several private yoga clients organically transitioned into a coaching format, which was better suited for them and their needs.  And although I haven’t been advertising this side of my work at all, here I am now with no more space currently to take on any more coaching clients (waitlist info available here).

I share this because it has been a really insightful lesson for me (thanks Universe).

Back in the first quarter of 2019 I was preparing for some unexpected medical treatment, which really shook me.  On reflection, I can see that my instinctive fear-based reaction at the time was to pull back and close off.  And then in came the opportunities to open up and grow.

Expansion and Contraction

Ah, the ebbs and flows of life! Look back at the most recent time you did something really positive that was also way outside of your comfort zone.  Consider the time just before that kicked off.  Often we can experience a feeling of resistance, fear or doubt before we level up in awesomeness.

I think that whenever we’re on the verge of something new, expanding a deeper version of ourselves and uncovering our potential, we will first experience a contraction.

Simply put, we often contract before we expand.  I completely understand why! Change is scary, and our ego wants to keep us safe.  That said, times of contraction are often difficult.  During these phases, we may feel anxious, dissatisfied, out of alignment and stuck.  These times of contraction may not happen consciously.  It may be the last thing that you want in that moment! Do you best to honour it anyway, and focus on your self care practices.

Contraction is part of all of the human experience – we can witness it even with our seasonal energy! In winter we often want to slow down and batten the hatches, while in the warmer months we can often feel more motivated and energised.

I have experienced and witnessed these expansion and contraction cycles many times. Even in the story I shared above, I first had to ‘contract’, ie. step back and put my coaching offerings on hold.  This gave me the space to reflect on, refine and expand my work.

Action – when to Step Down and when to Step UP

The opposite of fear is love. Fear is our ego’s favourite way of holding us in our comfort zone, keeping us safe. Change is scary, but that doesn’t mean we should be static.  Instead, it means we get to choose what serves us best, in the most loving way possible.

If you are being challenged with a new opportunity, or going through a new transition, choose and take action from a place of love.

Sometimes the right decision is to pull back and contract.  It’s up to us to figure out whether that’s coming from a place of love or fear.
Other times the best thing you can do is to step up and expand – feel the fear and do it anyway.

Perhaps the most authentic expression of yourself requires an action of expansion (deepening your well).  Maybe it is better for you to allow yourself to be in a state of contraction, and focus on your self care (filling your well).  Pay attention to what is directing your decision making, trying not to let fear sway your choices.  There is no right and wrong answer, only effective and less-effective solutions.

What is Right for You?

Do you feel called to step up or down, aka expansion or contraction?  Whichever you choose, do it from a place of love.

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